BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

Aggregated blogs on Romantic Studies – please click through to read full posts.

Archive for March 2018

Conference: John Keats in Scotland

By Anna Mercer

A conference taking place in May organised by Prof Nicholas Roe:

John Keats in Scotland
To celebrate the bicentenary of John Keats’s epic walking tour of Scotland in summer 1818, the School of English at the University of St Andrews will hold a two-day symposium on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 May.

Confirmed speakers: John Barnard, Jeffrey Cox, Katie Garner, Hrileena Ghosh, Nigel Leask, Meiko O’Halloran, Nicholas Roe, Richard Marggraf Turley, Carol Kyros Walker, Sarah Wootton.

Non-speaking participants are welcome to attend: to reserve a place, please e-mail to Dr. Katie Garner at

The full programme will be circulated in April.

John Keats by William Hilton, after Joseph Severn. Oil on canvas, based on a work of circa 1822. National Portrait Gallery.

…read more


Teaching Mary Shelley

By annamercer90


This post originally appeared on Romantic Textualities – part of a collection ‘Teaching Mary Shelley’s Other Works’, curated by Daniel cook and Catherine Redford.

Anna Mercer: Teaching Mary Shelley’s Lesser-Known Novels, Short Stories and Letters

Teaching a text by Mary Shelley that is not her notorious ‘hideous progeny’ Frankenstein offers the potential for students to begin to understand her wider concerns, both as a philosophical novelist and as a social commentator. Mary’s work post-Frankenstein sought to interact with the lofty verse and ‘beautiful idealisms of moral excellence’ (Percy Bysshe Shelley, Preface to Prometheus Unbound) produced by her husband, and with the works of her other contemporaries, as well as the texts by authors who preceded her.

Mary’s texts articulate her concerns with socio-political issues such as the role of women in society. For example, her two final novels Lodore and Falkner retrace ground pioneered by her mother Mary Wollstonecraft and other authors like Mary Hays; Mary Shelley transforms her lived experiences to inform the message of her fiction. Intriguingly, as Julie Carlson has described, Lodore and Falkner are ‘silver-fork novels’, imbued with a conservatism and conformity that potentially makes Mary’s work appear regressive when compared to the work of her …read more


Five Questions: Simon Kövesi on John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History

By Matthew Sangster

Simon Kövesi is Professor and Head of the Department of English and Modern Languages at Oxford Brookes University. He tweets as @kovesi1. He has published widely on contemporary fiction (with a particular focus on the Scottish novelist James Kelman), on working-class literature and on the relationship between writing and the natural world. At the heart of his work, though, is his abiding interest in and love for John Clare, on whom he has published numerous essays and book chapters. He is the editor of the John Clare Society Journal and the co-editor (with Scott McEathron) of New Essays on John Clare: Poetry, Culture and Community (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has recently led a high-profile campaign to highlight the threat posed to Clare’s archives by ongoing local authority cuts. His passion for Clare’s work has also led to his being one of the very few academics to have sparred with a straw bear on the silver screen. Below, we discuss his most recent monograph, John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History, which was published by Palgrave in September 2017.

1) What first drew you to John Clare?

I …read more


The BARS Blog: Call for Contributors  

By Anna Mercer

The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) is looking for contributors to write for our blog: an online collection of news/notices and longer posts, all of which celebrate and promote research in Romanticism. Would you like to contribute to a) The ‘Archive Spotlight’ series or b) The ‘On This Day’ series?

Please get in touch by sending a short pitch of what your post will include, and a short bio. Final posts should be around 1000 words.

Further details:
‘Archive Spotlight’:

Posts should be a blog about your experience of using an archive. You could use the space to discuss one or two things of interest you found at the archive, perhaps things that are intriguing, but that you cannot fit into your thesis, book, or other written work.

The post could also be an account of the archive itself as well as some things you’ve studied there that relate to the Romantic Period (1770-1830). You could focus more on the latter if you prefer. Previous examples can be found here.

‘On This Day’:
This is a Romantic bicentenary series that has been running since July 2015. We have been inspired to create this series following the popularity on Twitter of the ‘OnThisDay’ hashtag. We want …read more


Stephen Copley Award Report: Eleanor Bryan, The British Library

By Anna Mercer

A report from Eleanor Bryan (PhD candidate, University of Lincoln) who was awarded a BARS Stephen Copley Award.

See the full list of 2018 winners here.

Eleanor Bryan – Stephen Copley Award Report

The Stephen Copley Award funded my visit to the British Library Doctoral Open day on Monday 19th March. The purpose of the open day was to acquaint new PhD students with the variety of resources that the British Library offers, and to explain the best ways of using its services and navigating its collections, both physically and online. This particular open day took an interdisciplinary approach to the British Library’s nineteenth-century collections and, as such, provided a holistic overview of a plethora of potential resources. Presentations were given by a host of librarians, all with different areas of expertise, who provided information on the nineteenth-century printed collections, modern archives, and manuscript collections.

My research focuses on dramatic adaptations of Gothic novels, namely Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I was therefore particularly interested in the British Ephemera collections, which include playbills, prints, and drawings. The other doctoral students and I were able to peruse some of the historical manuscripts. We were shown a variety of …read more